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United’s In-Flight Snackboxes: Which is Healthiest?

If you have traveled on a United Airlines flight that was longer than two hours, you may have purchased one of their in-flight snackbox offerings to satisfy your hunger. At one point, I think United offered four different options, but recently, they have backed down to three.  I’m guessing it was a demand issue.

At first glance, all of the Snackbox choices seem to have some healthy items and some not-so-healthy items. To make it easy, I did an analysis of each Snackbox, rating each item in the box, as well as the box as a whole. I always suggest that you bring your own nutritious food for in-flight, but if you forget to or didn’t have time to prepare anything, use this guide to make the right in-flight choice while flying United:

Classic Snackbox ($6)

Item Rating Explanation
Kettle Backyard BBQ Chips Bad High in fat
Oreo Cookies Bad High in sugar and saturated fat
Jelly Belly Gourmet Jelly Beans Bad High in sugar
Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers Ok High in carbohydrates. Moderate fat and moderate protein
Sparrer Beef Salami Bad High in saturated fat
Gourmet Cheddar Cheese Spread Bad High in saturated fat
Pepperidge Farm Crackers Ok Made wit refined flour

Overall Rating – Worst Snackbox Option. Although this option might fill you up in-flight, it won’t leave you feeling very good. It is high in saturated fat, sugar and refined carbohydrates. The high sugar content will cause a potential energy crash and the high saturated fat content will leave you gassy and potentially constipated. Moreover, there is little to no fiber in this option. When traveling, fiber is especially important in maintaining regularity.

Luxe Snackbox ($7)

Item Rating Explanation
Rondele Peppercorn Parmesan Cheese Spread Bad High in saturated fat
Pepperidge Farm Crackers Ok Made with refined flour
Food Should Taste Good Multigrain Tortilla Chips Good Made with whole grains and lower in fat than traditional chips
Oloves Mediterranean or Vinaigrette Olives Good High in healthy monounsaturated fats
Wild Garden Hummus Dip Good High in protein and healthy fats
Real Torino Sesame Breadsticks Ok Made with refined flour
Ashers Dark Chocolate Pretzel Ok Dark chocolate has antioxidants, but pretzel is made with refined flour

Overall Rating – Best Snackbox Option. This option is well-balanced and contains foods that are less processed than those found in the other snackboxes.  The Luxe choice has items that are high in fiber, and that contain whole grains, protein and healthy fats.  All of which are important in satiating your appetite in-flight and giving you a nutritious snack for the longer haul.

Eat for Good Snackbox ($7)

*$1 donated to Feeding America®

Item Rating Explanation
Bumble Bee Chicken Salad Bad The chicken salad is actually very high in fat, sugar, sodium, corn syrup and other unappealing ingredients. Further, it isn’t as high in protein as you’d think
Pepperidge Farm Crackers Ok Made with refined flour and sugar, but low in fat
Kettle Classics Plain Chips Bad High in fat
Immaculate Baking Chocolate Chip Cookies Bad High in sugar and fat. Made with refined flour
High Energy Trail Mix Good High in fiber, healthy fat and contains some protein
Vitalit Antioxidant Drink Mix Ok I’m never a fan of drink mixes. I’d rather see you get your antioxidants from real food

Overall Rating – Not Optimal as a Snackbox Option. With only one item that is somewhat healthy, this snack box is not the best way to go in-flight.  It is high in fat, sugar and carbohydrates. It is relatively low in protein and contains a lot of highly processed food items.

Of course the healthier options cost more than the the unhealthiest.  Murphy’s Law at its best.

Have you had any of these United Snackboxes while in-flight? Which one do you normally choose?

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